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How Our State Media Went Mad

They Bought Their Own Big Lie
By Garth Kant
September 26, 2023
On The Record

You expect criticism in politics. It comes with the turf. But this is something new. Something disturbing. Something dark.

Criticism of politicians was mostly confined to the issues back when journalists valued objectivity and generally stuck to facts. Politicians made their case and critics made their rebuttal, all based on the issues. Not anymore. Now it’s personal. Even here in Ohio, the heart of it all. 

The state media’s penchant for character assassination has been growing for some while but their strident opposition to Issue 1 caused them to really lose their marbles. Our woke media mavens ripped off the mask and began screaming in your face. 

Leftists used to say the personal is political. Now the political is personal. How personal? Take a look at this. In just the last few months, the editors at the Columbus Dispatch and Cleveland Plain Dealer have called Republican leaders:

Despicable, abhorrent, cowardly, unscrupulous, insincere, dishonest, ruthless, dictators, dangerous, disingenuous, untrustworthy, reckless, reprehensible, disrespectful, undemocratic, sleazy, spineless, underhanded, hypocritical, lying, sinister, cynical, power-hungry, villains, and assassins of truth.

It gets worse. The editors claim GOP leaders are trying to:

·       Rig the system

·       Hoodwink voters

·       Rob all Ohioans of their rights

·       Slap voters in the face

·       Betray our democracy

·       Silence the people

·       Seize ultimate control

·       Squash the will of the people

·       Drive a dagger in Ohio's 'heart'

·       Obtain nearly ultimate power 

·       Dictate your life with little impunity 

·       Stomp on the will of the people

·       Lie to and cheat voters to win

·       Ignore voters’ will

·       Attack democracy

·       Gut democracy

·       Crush democracy

·       Cheat and lie every step of the way

·       Create a basic dictatorship in Columbus

·       Create a fascist state

Well. That is quite the ambitious agenda. Ohio would probably need its own DOJ and FBI to do all of that nearly as well as team Biden.

Cleveland Plain Dealer Editor Chris Quinn has a particular dislike of Senate President Matt Huffman. Quinn’s antagonism is easily triggered and amusingly deranged. For example, on his Today in Ohio podcast on May 24, Quinn said:

“Matt Huffman’s the leader of it all, he’s probably the most sinister politician we’ve seen in 20 years.”

Quinn also called him “cruel” because “that’s the signature of Matt Huffman, senate president.” The editor has also called the president a completely out of control liar who wants to be a dictator. Oh, and he has repeatedly called for Huffman to be fitted for an orange jumpsuit. (Here here here here here and here.) Yes, he thinks the senate president belongs in prison.

So, what’s really going on here? Why is the animosity so deep it’s comically deluded? Let’s ask Quinn.

The editor explains, Huffman “is the guy, after all, who was key in thwarting the voter’s will regarding gerrymandering.”

Ah. There it is. Gerrymandering is the key to it all. It explains the detachment from reality and the runaway vitriol from the editorial boards. 

Gerrymandering is their Rosetta Stone. It explains everything to them. The editors think they’re actually in the majority. They think Ohioans actually are as far-left leaning as themselves, apparently because of selective poll results on individual issues. But that sinister Huffman found a way to thwart the far-left radicalization of Ohio. 

(As for the polls... you could easily construct poll questions that show most people would repeal the law of gravity. And abolish poverty. And crime. And taxes. And cellulite. And the designated hitter.)

Here’s what Quinn really thinks: 

·       “Gerrymandering has put us in a position with super majorities in the legislature that don’t match the voting public.

·       “Republicans through gerrymandering have amassed this great power.

·       “Statehouse Republicans ... used gerrymandering to give themselves super majorities.”

·       “Because of their sinister practices, they have created super majorities where they lord over the state.” 

·       “With gerrymandering, we have created a tyranny of the minority in Columbus.”

·       “...out-of-control legislators who keep getting elected because of gerrymandering.”

This is the source of his obsession. Quinn is both Captain Ahab and Don Quixote – and his great white windmill is gerrymandering.

Dispatch Opinion Editor Amelia Robinson agrees:

“Ohio's unconstitutional and gerrymandered voting districts are rigged in favor of Republicans and that's exactly how some legislators want to keep them.”

The truth is gerrymandering is their big lie.

Worse yet, they believe it.

It’s a lie the media keep repeating (like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill which did not, in fact, say gay) because they hope to make it stick through sheer repetition. 

That’s why the attacks from the state media are so vicious, so personal. The media detached from reality when they bought their own big lie, and the disconnect is filling them with irrational rage.

The accusation that the GOP super majority in Ohio is a result of gerrymandering is easily debunked. There is clear evidence that the redistricting committee did not gerrymander the maps used in the 2022. 

As we noted previously (Mainstream Media vs. Mainstream America), GOP senate candidates won in three districts that actually favored Democrats last November. Democrats did not win in any Republican-leaning districts. Republicans won 12 of the 16 toss-up districts in the House race. Ohio’s current legislative map has 15 senate districts that favor Democrats. Republicans hold 8 of those districts. 

Gerrymandering can’t explain the Democrats inability to win on their own turf. You can’t blame any of the election results on gerrymandering, once you look at the facts. The Democrats’ problem is obviously their candidates and their policies, not a lack of Democratic-leaning districts.

Furthermore, Republicans swept all the statewide elections for office. The governor was reelected by more than 25 points. That’s a mega-landslide. The reason for all of this is obvious. Ohio is a solid red state. It was impossible to create a map that could give Democrats any more wins without severely violating the state constitution. The election results proved Democrats are extremely vulnerable even in Democrat-leaning districts. What they are selling just isn’t that popular.

Gerrymandering played no role. The evidence is clear and indisputable. That doesn’t stop the most hardcore of the reality-deniers in the Ohio media from continuing to howl the maps were gerrymandered. Their big lie is their precious. They won’t let go.

Buying their own big lie led them to think they represent the majority. That accounts for an even bigger delusion. The state media think they represent the mainstream in Ohio. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our media are so far left they consider the middle to be radical right.

In her column on August 10, Dispatch Editor Robinson referred to the “radical Ohio lawmakers” and “the far-right politicians who control the Ohio Statehouse,” a sentiment strongly shared at the Plain Dealer.

But who are the real radicals? Could it be those who support:

·       School boys in girls’ locker rooms

·       Porn in public school libraries

·       Men having babies

·       Woke speech codes on campus and at work

·       Teaching sexual politics and gender identity to kindergartners

·       Demonizing parents who object as domestic terrorists

·       Taking away your gas stove and water heater

·       Government censorship of social media

·       Abortion up until the moment of birth

·       Defunding police and putting criminals back on the streets

·       Chipping away at the right to defend yourself until you are defenseless

Does that sound mainstream to you?  No, because that is the media’s biggest lie. They are nowhere near mainstream. Make no mistake, our state media are far, far left. Know them by polices they promote. They want to turn Ohio's cities into the far-left utopias of Seattle and Portland.

Seattle now tops the list of cities people are trying to escape because of the out-of-control crime caused by far-left government policies. Homicides are up 24-percent over last year and vehicle thefts are up by 30-percent. Police staffing is at a 30-year low.

So many people are fleeing the rampant crime in Portland the county lost a billion dollars in tax revenue from 2020-2021. The city broke its homicide record in 2021 and again in 2022. The police department has 80 vacancies and the average time for an emergency police response is more than 23 minutes. 

It is a deeply deceptive tactic by the far-left to call those who represent the mainstream "far-right." Ohio’s Republican elected officials represent hard-working people from all walks of life who embrace traditional values. People who just want to live a decent life in harmony with their neighbors of all races, religions, and beliefs, and not be pummeled by our media for not being woke enough.

Our state media would prefer to fundamentally transform Ohio with the policies that have nearly destroyed big blue cities such as Portland and Seattle. Ohio’s major media doesn’t represent the mainstream. They represent the elites who never have to pay the price their misguided utopian dreams savagely inflict upon average Americans. 

The Ohio state media represent the radical far left. Your State Senate represents the vast majority of Ohioans who are the real mainstream, working hard to realize the American Dream for themselves, their children, and all posterity.

Garth Kant is Senior Press Secretary of the Ohio Senate Majority Caucus and the editor of On The Record.